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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top 3 Reasons for an Emerald Isle Vacation in August

August already? How can that be? The summer is flying by, but it's not over yet. 

There's plenty of time for a summer getaway (and although we realize we're a bit biased), we highly recommend you come here to Emerald Isle.

Why? Let us tell you a little more about that...

Here are our top three reasons why August is the perfect month for a beach vacation in Emerald Isle:
1. It's feeling hot, hot, hot. Just like the other areas of the country enduring the brutal high temperatures and lingering heat this summer; we have that here on the coast of North Carolina, too. However, it's much more tolerable thanks to the distraction of the stunning seaside views, the refreshment of the cooling Atlantic waters, and the reprieve of the salty coastal breeze.

2. There are plenty of things to see and do. Whether you prefer the cool air-conditioned environment of the The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores as your respite from the heat, or you're more interested in braving the elements to explore a historic Civil War fortβ€”there are options for everyone. Take a day trip, relax on the beach, stroll the streets of the local waterfront towns, or get out on the water. Don't forget to check out the listing of local events occurring right in Emerald Isle during your stay.

3. Have a place to call home during your beach vacation. There are so many choices when it comes to your vacation accommodations here in Emerald Isle. Stay on the beach, near the beach, on or near the sound... and everything in between. Having a home-away-from-home during your stay is important in a quality vacation. Be as comfortable as possible with the right amenities to suit your needs. Be sure to check out the August vacation rental specials and discounts, too.

We have a many more reasons we could share with you, but we think you should come and find out for yourself! We look forward to seeing you here on the Crystal Coast this August.

If you've been to Emerald Isle, feel free to add to our Top 3 list of reasons to vacation here in August or any time of year. We always love hearing from our readers. Until next time, stay cool and remember that life's a beach!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Band the Billfish Tournament Returns to the Crystal Coast

The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament is history for this year, but that doesn't mean it's the end of sportfishing tournaments here on the Crystal Coast. The Morehead City waterfront is once again home to another big weekend of fishing. 

The North Carolina Ducks Unlimited (NCDU) Band the Billfish Tournament celebrates its 24th year on our coastal waters this weekend, July 26-28. The tournament raises funds and promotes awareness for the North Carolina wetland habitats as well as for the waterfowl breeding areas across the country.

Tournament events kick off Thursday, July 26 with the captains social and registration taking place at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City. Fishing begins on Friday, July 27 from 9a.m. to 3p.m. with scales closing at 7p.m. and continues through Saturday, July 28 from 8a.m. to 2p.m. with scales closing at 6p.m. Weigh-ins occur at The Big Rock Landing.

The tournament wraps up on Saturday evening with the banquet and awards dinner at 7:30p.m. at the Civic Center. Individual awards including top lady angler and top greenwing angler are given, as well as awards for first, second, and third place for most points.

For a full listing of tournament events and details, visit the NCDU Band the Billfish Tournament's schedule of events page. Registration forms, tournament rules, and award categories can be found by visiting

Whether you are an avid sportfisherman (or sportfisherwoman) or you just like to throw a line in the water every now and again, the Crystal Coast is the place to be. Stay on our beaches, find some favorite fishing spots, and enjoy our coastal towns during your visit. We look forward to seeing you!

Do you have a favorite Crystal Coast sportfishing event? Tell us about it!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crystal Coast Day Trip: Cape Lookout National Seashore

So many great Crystal Coast day trips; so little time. There is so much to see and do here during your Emerald Isle vacationβ€”in addition to enjoying our beautiful beaches, sun-kissed shorelines, and blue-green crystalline waters. Pencil in some of these worthwhile day trips, and then plan ahead for next year to come back and see some more!

Cape Lookout National Seashore encompasses over 55-miles of undeveloped beach that includes several barrier islands from Ocracoke Inlet to Beaufort Inlet. 

The only section of Cape Lookout National Seashore that is accessible by car is the Visitor Center located on the eastern end of Harkers Island (which is approximately 30 miles east of Beaufort, NC). 

Most visitors arrive on the seashore via passenger ferry services and then walk to their desired destination. Passenger ferry services are available from Harkers Island, Beaufort, and Morehead City locations. Part of your adventure begins on the ride over! And yes, you should expect to get a bit wet.

Cape Lookout
The Cape Lookout Lighthouse and Assistant Keepers' Quarters Museum are a quarter-mile from the ferry landing. There is a boardwalk for ease-of-access that begins at the ferry landing and continues across the island.

Many people enjoy visiting the Keeper's Quarters Museum (open seasonally from April through October) and viewing the lighthouse, as well as soaking up the sun on the natural beauty of the sandy shores.

Shackleford Banks
The island of Shackleford Banks has few amenities. There is a dock located on the west end but there are no boardwalks, so all walking is done in the soft sands that contour the island.

Composting toilets are available at the west end where the ferry landing area is and at Wades Shore. Visitors enjoy the benefits of secluded natural beaches as well as observing and  photographing the wild horses that roam the banks.

Portsmouth Village
Portsmouth Village has limited public facilities with unpaved paths of soft sand. A few of the historic buildings are open to the public seasonally which include the Theodore and Annie Salter house, the general store/post office, the school, the church, and the historic U.S. life-saving station.

Restrooms are available in the Salter house and compost toilets are available on the far side of the village beyond the life-saving station. The beach is a 1.2 mile walk from the village across a tidal sand flat (depending on wind and tide conditions, that sand flat may be covered in water that is ankle to knee-high deep).

Harkers Island
The Shell Point area of Harkers Island has paved parking and walking areas and is home to the Harkers Island Visitor Center. Here you can view the park's movie shown on a large screen and view the various exhibits. The Soundside Trail is located behind the visitor center and offers a fairly flat trail with some rough surfaces and soft soil. Half of this trail contains a wooden boardwalk. 

If you happen to be in the area this weekend, Saturday, July 21 is one of the park's Family Fun Days entitled: Take Your Parent Outside Day. The event is free and occurs from noon to 4p.m. at the Harkers Island Visitor Center.

It's a chance for the kids to get parents out into nature and to participate in and learn about some outdoor activities that are family-friendly. Activities include how to set up an environmentally friendly campsite, fish with poles and nets, go on nature hikes, and complete a GPS scavenger hunt.

The Cape Lookout National Seashore offers great opportunities for day trips during your time here on the Crystal Coast. These day trips require a little advance planning to factor in ferry schedules, destinations, and what to bring, but they are well worth it. 

Remember that these are remote islands and they require you to bring the food, water, and other necessary supplies during your visit. The Cape Lookout National Seashore's Frequently Asked Questions are a helpful read before planning your trip.

Have you taken a day trip to the Cape Lookout National Seashore? Tell us about your adventures! We always love hearing from our readers.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top 10 Reasons to Plan a Beach Vacation in Emerald Isle, NOW!

It's summertime! Have you taken a vacation yet? If so, good for you. If not, we'd like to encourage you to make your plans. We hope our Top 10 list might give you the nudge that you need.

10. The Timing: It's mid-July already. Summer is almost halfway over so don't neglect penciling in some much needed vacation time to rest from work for a little while, recharge your batteries, and renew your spirit. A beach vacation is just what you need and Emerald Isle is your vacation destination.

9. The Lifestyle: Any place where flip-flops abound, swimsuits are the fashion necessity, and the sun, sand, and surf are the primary attractions seems like a pretty laid-back lifestyle to surround yourself with for awhile. We embrace all of those things in addition to our friendly, welcoming locals who are happy to share their little piece of paradise with you.

8. The Nightlife: Listen to live music, try out some of the local watering holes, or maybe stop in for karaoke night. Looking for something more family-friendly? Spend the evening bowling or playing miniature golf. When is the last time you did any of these things?

7. The Dining: Whether it's fine dining, a casual coastal eatery, or something in betweenβ€”we have a little bit of everything here to please your palate.

6. The Shopping: Find unique coastal treasures and browse our beach trinkets. Bring home some souvenirs and shop for new beach attire. Peruse local artwork and do some antique shopping.
5. The Nature: Catch a glimpse of the dolphins as they glide through the water, enjoy the pelicans as they skim the sound, and watch the crabs scuttle across the sand. It's a nice change of scenery.

4. The Attractions: Emerald Isle is conveniently located to so many attractions and offers many incredible day trips. The list of things-to-do while vacationing here will keep you coming back for more.

3. The Weather: There are record high temperatures this summer throughout the country. If it's going to be hot, you might as well be here with us at the beach. The coastal breeze provides some reprieve and the cooling waters offer relief from the heat and humidity.

2. The Vacation Rentals: Forget about hotels and motels; they don't give you what you need. Vacation rentals are more accommodating offering you your choice of location, a nice selection of amenities, and a variety of sizes and styles to suit your needs.

And the #1 reason to plan a beach vacation in Emerald Isle is (drum roll, please)....

1. The Beaches: Clear crystalline waters, pristine sandy beaches, and stunning natural coastal beauty envelop you. Our beaches are not too crowded or overly commercialized. They offer optimal sand, sun, and surfβ€”the essentials of an authentic beach vacation.

What are you waiting for? Make your plans!

Is there anything else you'd add to our Top 10 list? Tell us about it! We look forward to seeing you on our beaches and around our towns here on the Crystal Coast.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Simple Pleasures of a Crystal Coast Vacation: Spectacular Sunrises & Sunsets

Let's face it, a vacation is a time to get away from all of the stress, responsibilities, and busyness of every day life. It's a time to focus on the simpler things in life: the beauty of nature, quality time with family and friends, and enjoying each moment for what it is. 

Emerald Isle is located on western end of the island of Bogue Banks, which is part of the Crystal Coast and the greater part of the region known as the Southern Outer Banks. What visitors may not realize is that unlike the northern parts of the Outer Banks of North Carolina which lie north to south, the island of Bogue Banks has an east-west orientation with the beaches facing south. 
So if you're standing on the beach looking straight ahead toward the ocean, you're actually facing south and if you would turn your back to the ocean, you'd actually be facing north. Make sense? It may help you to take a look at a Crystal Coast map to get the full picture.

Well, the whole point of all of this is that because of the unique east-west positioning of Bogue Banks, it allows for spectacular coastal views of both sunrises and sunsets. So when you book your Emerald Isle vacation rental this summer, be sure to bring your camera and be ready to capture the glorious sunrises and sunsets. If you're not big on photography, then just stroll the beaches and enjoy. Sunrises usually occur near 6a.m. and sunsets happen after 8p.m. for the month of July. 

Also just another reminder if you're here vacationing with us over the July 4th holiday, be sure to read last week's blog about the Fourth of July festivities in Emerald Isle.
We know there are plenty of fun things to do while vacationing here on the Crystal Coast, but we hope you make time for the sunrises and sunsets, as well as other simple pleasures. 

Have you vacationed in Emerald Isle? Tell us about some of your favorite simple pleasures!

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